Southern Leyte gov seeks completion of Maasin Airport

August 4, 2015 5:42 am 

MAASIN CITY, Southern, Leyte, Aug. 3 –- The local government in this province is asking the national government to fast track the release of funds for the full development of Maasin Airport, a project that will help unlock local tourism potential.

Governor Roger Mercado admitted that the release of funds for the phase by phase construction works of the airport was often delayed for some unknown reasons.

The main cause the full development of the Maasin Airport failed, was the slow release of funds from the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), according to Mercado. The project was started in 2013.

Two years ago, the standard requirement length for the airport was said to be at least two kilometer, as Mercado conveyed it to the media during a visit to the place, where he was one of the three passengers aboard a 4-seater plane bound for Manila, enroute to Cebu City.

The fund for the Maasin airport development in 2012 was said to be PHP200M as promised by DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya.

The runway still needs additional 500 meters to meet the international standard requirement of at least two-kilometer length.

Nevertheless, he said that Cebu Pacific and Air Asia Zest are okay with the 1.8-kilometer runway length for propeller-driven aircraft.

The full airport development, according to Mercado, will entice more air travelers to the province and the neighboring town. Tourists prefer boarding at the Maasin airport than to travel for about four hours by van in going to Tacloban Airport to take a flight to Manila.

He said that when the airport here becomes operational, there’s a high percentage of meeting the expectation of the airline operators in the number of passengers per landing either for Cebu or Metro Manila.

“The Maasin airport and Tacloban airport have a little difference in distance in going to Manila by plane,” Mercado said.

Currently, Mercado is still waiting for the release of the remaining funds from DOTC for the completion of the airport.

“If ever the additional funds from DOTC would become hopeless to wait, as a recourse to the problem, we will tap the provincial government’s coffer for funds for the concreting of the runway’s 500 meters lacking length," he said.

With this in mind, he will inform the DOTC that the airport’s income will go to the provincial government as a return profit of the investment, he said.

Furthermore, if in case it happens that the DOTC funds will arrive sooner before the realization of his plan, then he will be glad if that will happen as soon as possible, he added.

According to Mercado, it is now incumbent upon for the DOTC to immediately release funds since the full development of the Maasin airport is a key to improve the 15-year-old component city’s economy. (PNA)

LAP/SQM/QUIRICO M. GORPIDO, JR./EGR

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